Chef Sylvain Sendra’s new restaurant in the Latin Quarter is a de rigeur addition to any bargain-loving bistro lover’s Paris itinerary (the three-course prix fixe is a terrific buy at 34 Euros).
Sendra, who made Le Temps au Temps on the über-trendy rue Paul Bert a hit, left to spread his wings after five years of working alone in a broom closet of a kitchen. His wife, Sarah, who ran the likewise minuscule dining room at Le Temps au Temps, also has some real breathing room in this good-looking restaurant on a quiet side street just across the Seine from Notre Dame (by the way, if the space seems familiar, it might be because you once ate at Chez Toutoune, a popular bistro that was on the same premises for years).
The best part of the move is that Sendra’s market-driven, contemporary bistro cooking—the chalkboard menu changes daily—is better than ever. On a warm spring night, with bouquets of low-bowing peonies set out on the two bars, we loved starters of green asparagus in a foie gras vinaigrette with borage flowers, and an intricate salad of finely diced marinated salmon and baby vegetables (white asparagus, zucchini, fennel, tiny fava beans) with an arugula-and-pickled-lemon vinaigrette. Main courses were superb, too—roast baby lamb from the Pyrenees served on a bed of petits pois puréed with fresh mint; a perfect squid-ink risotto; and salmon cooked sous vide with a pinch of Lapsong Souchong tea. Rhubarb-and-strawberry soup with warm sablés couldn’t have been more appropriate for springtime.
Not surprisingly, this place is a hit, so book at least a week in advance.
Itinéraires 5 rue de Pontoise, 5th, Paris (01-46-33-60-11)